Reference Centre, Planning

Errors in Published Genealogies,
Benjamin Draper Ruck

The is in the case of Jane Ruck born circa 1816 East Tovil, residing at Tovil Hill, Maidstone in 1851. This is a woman who is the head of a family tree in the public trees on Ancestry.com (http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/67965977/person/44280384285).

The first linked source on that tree is the 1851 census, Maidstone, West Maidstone, E.D. 1k, p. 20, wherein Jane Ruck is recorded as being married but her husband appears to be absent. Consequently, the family tree on Ancestry.com was started with Jane surname Ruck as if she were a single woman, when, in fact, she should have been shown as Jane with no surname and Mr. Ruck added as her husband until his name could be determined.

However, the plot thickens and the classic mistake was made by this researcher. He failed to look at the previous page of the census whereon Benjamin D. Ruck is found as the last entry on page 19, aged 35 years, general labourer, born at Maidstone, Kent. There is no dividing line indicating the end of the household underneath his name and, indeed, the Household Schedule number is 74, which is again picked up at the top of the following page next to the entry for Jane Ruck. Household Schedule number 75 relates to the family of Fanny Weller. Further confirmation of the husband's details can be drawn from the 1861 and 1871 census returns whereon he does appear cum familia.

Concerning the children of Benjamin D. Ruck and Jane [nee Groombridge - from my own research] the marriages of James (born circa 1851) have not been fully enumerated on this erroneous Ancestry.com tree. Prior to James' marriage to Sophia Miller he married Thirza Stedman and had by her four and possibly five children between the years 1871 and 1888. There is one child in doubt as to whether she was a Ruck by birth or perhaps the child of Sophia Miller as no birth registration can be found for an Edith Ruck in the years 1886 through 1890. Conversely, there are three Edith Miller births registered in those same years. Furthermore, James Ruck's first marriage to Thirza Stedman only ended with her death during the March quarter of 1888. His second marriage to Sophia Miller did not take place until some two years later during the March quarter of 1890. So, on this individual's online tree he has included Agnes, Amelia Ada and James Thomas as being the children of Sophia Miller, when in fact they had been the children of Thirza Stedman, the first wife. Edith is shown as Edith Ruck as per the various census returns. He has also omitted one other child of James and Thirza, that being Rosa, or Rose as she is shown on some of the census returns.

The next difficulty encountered is in the tree of Benjamin D. and Jane's son, Frederick Ruck (1855-1936). On his page (http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/67965977/person/44280384290) is shown a wife named Florence Isabel Ruck with four children and a second wife, unknown, with three children. I'll return to this second wife in a minute.

One of the sources for the marriage of Frederick Ruck to Florence Isabel Ruck (note again the incorrect use of the married surname rather than the wife's native surname in compiling the tree) is the "London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921" series found on Ancestry.com. Fair enough, one should definitely have the marriage certificate linked as a source. However, the Frederick William Ruck that is the subject of the marriage in that source (marriage 12 Aug 1884 at St. Alphege, Greenwich) is the son of one George Ruck and not the son of Benjamin D. Ruck and Jane nee Groombridge.

Frederick Ruck's wife's name is Florence Isabel, maiden surname Bromley. In viewing the image of the marriage entry, indeed, Frederick William Ruck is living at Maidstone but his father is definitely shown as George Ruck, deceased, architect and surveyor. Frederick William Ruck, the groom is described as being 30 years of age and a bachelor, a surveyor by profession. The marriage took place on 12 August 1884 at St. Alphege parish church, Greenwich. Witnesses were William T. Bromley, Ada M. Bromley, and someone who appears to have signed as Caroline Ruck.

In the 1871 census Frederick Ruck, son of Benjamin D. Ruck and Jane, is still living at home aged 23 years and an unmarried farm labourer. There is a marriage registration during the December quarter of 1872 for a Frederick Ruck and Maria Baker in the Maidstone District (vol. 2a, p. 957).

From the 1881, 1891 and 1901 census we can see a Frederick Ruck was the husband of Maria. He was recorded as being ages 28, 37 and 46 years, respectively, and has been a sawyer's labourer and stone sawyer throughout the thirty years mentioned. He is recorded as having been born at Tovil and, alternately, at Maidstone. Three children shown as children to this couple: Henry born circa 1868, Louisa born circa 1870 and Ada born circa 1875. This Frederick married to Maria is someone who is unlikely to have magically become a surveyor by 1884.

In 1891 and 1901 the two Fredericks are clearly distinguishable: Frederick with wife Maria and Frederick William with wife Florence Isabel. By 1911 only Frederick William and his wife, Florence Isabel, appear to be still living. Maria Ruck, formerly Baker, and wife of Frederick Ruck the stone sawyer appears to have died during the December quarter of 1905.

Returning briefly to the second wife labelled as unknown of Frederick William Ruck on the erroneous tree we can see that there are the three children shown on the 1881 census living with Frederick Ruck, sawyer's labourer and his wife, Maria. The erroneous tree is correct only insofar as these three children should definitely be ascribed to Frederick Ruck, the son of Jane (nee Groombridge). However, two of the three children in this supposed second marriage cannot be identified as having been born as Ruck. In fact, with the aid of FreeBMD it would appear that Maria Baker may have either been married previous to her marriage to Frederick Ruck and had the first two children, namely Henry and Louisa, or those two children were illegitimate. Of course, it is entirely possible that Frederick and Maria were living together in a common law arrangement prior to their marriage in 1872. However, that still wouldn't account for the birth of Louisa circa 1870 as this Frederick is clearly living at home with his parent, Benjamin Draper Ruck and Jane at the time of the 1871 census.

There is no overt connection between the owner of this tree and any of the Ruck individuals shown. So one has to wonder if diligent effort had been applied in the research or if it was a catch-as-catch-can scenario.

Sources:
For Benjamin Draper Ruck:
1. 1841 Census, England, West Maidstone District, ED #9, page 22, Tovil, Kent, England, LDS Film #0306882, 6 Jun 1841.
2. 1851 Census, England, Maidstone, West Maidstone, Kent, England, ED 1k, fol. 221, p. 19, FHL #0193518, 30 Mar 1851.
3. 1861 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG 9/501, ED 9, fol. 14, p. 21, FHL #0542650, 7 Apr 1861.
4. 1871 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG10/941, ED 8, fol. 43, p. 42, FHL #0838712, 2 Apr 1871.

For James Ruck:
5. 1891 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG12/687, ED 6, fol. 84, p. 13, FHL #6095797, 5 Apr 1891.

For Frederick Ruck and Maria Baker (see also sources for Benjamin Draper Ruck):
6. 1881 Census, England, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG11/0927, fol. 29, FHL Film #1341221, 3 Apr 1881.
7. 1891 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, ED #1, page 24, LDS Fiche #60958, 5 Apr 1891.
8. 1901 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG13/767, ED 20, fol. 91, p. 28., 31 Mar 1901.

For Frederick William Ruck and Florence Isabel Bromley:
9. 1861 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG 9/501, ed 13, fol. 88, p. 16, FHL #0542650, 7 Apr 1861.
10. 1871 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG10/942, ED 13, fol. 37, p. 27, FHL #0838713, 2 Apr 1871.
11. 1881 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG11/929, ED 12, fol. 25, p. 43, FHL #1341221, 3 Apr 1881
12. 1891 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG12/687, ED 8, fol. 126, p. 14, FHL #6095797, 5 Apr 1891.
13. 1901 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG13/768, ED 24, fol. 15, p. 22., 31 Mar 1901.
14. 1911 Census, England and Wales, Maidstone, Kent, England, RG14/4150, RD 51, ED 23, 2 Apr 1911.
15. Parish Register, St. Alphege, Greenwich, Kent, England, p. 179, entry number 358, 12 August 1884, marriage of Frederick William Ruck and Florence Isabel Bromley.
16. Index to Grants of Probates and Administrations, England, Probate Registry London, England, 31 Aug 1936, deceased being Frederick William Ruck.
17. Index to Grants of Probates and Administrations, England, Principal Registry Maidstone, Kent, England, 17 Aug 1880, deceased being George Ruck.

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